Professor: Best Practices - Questions (Old Top Hat)

We're happy to see you have started using Top Hat in your course! If you are wondering how to get the most out of your Top Hat usage, you have come to the right place. We understand every professor has their own unique teaching style, but we have also come up with a list of best practices you can use when launching questions. You can follow these tips and tricks to use Top Hat efficiently and effectively in your class, which will really help improve the classroom experience!

Launching Questions

Number of Active Questions:
Minimize the number of questions you have active at any given time. Top Hat has a default limit for 20 questions to be in "Ask" mode at once, but having multiple questions open can be confusing for students and cause connectivity issues. This is not recommended.

Note: Students cannot see all text codes if there are multiple questions open. Also, the more questions open the more taxing this is on your classrooms wifi bandwidth!

If you are going to use timers, we recommend giving students at least 60 seconds to respond to a question. For students with a slow internet connection, having at least 60 seconds per question gives their devices time to load the questions. 

Order of Questions:
Remember, the questions you "Ask" most recently will appear at the top of the screen. If you launch a folder of questions, close one question in the middle of the pile, and then ask it again it will appear at the top of the question pile. If you need to close one question to edit it, we recommend closing the folder and relaunching it to keep things organized. If you are going to ask multiple questions at the same time, however, consider using the "Homework" status, or going one at a time and using the "Close and Ask Next" button to progress through a folder.

The "Magnify" button will put the question into full screen, allowing for better readability, and making it easier for students texting in their responses to see the texting code. 

Opening and Closing Submissions

"# Submissions" Bar:
The submissions bar at the top of each question indicates how many students have submitted a response. You can toggle it to "Online" or "Enrolled":

  • Enrolled: from the students enrolled in the class, how many have submitted a response
  • Online: from the students online at the time, how many have submitted a response 

We recommend keeping this set to "% Online" and allowing the submission percentage to reach at least 80% before closing the question. 

Close vs Disable Submissions:
Keep in mind if you "Close" a question right after accepting submissions, it will disappear from student screens. This can be confusing for students. Initially, try clicking "Disable Submissions" instead, which will keep the question on the screen in "Show" status, but will block further submissions. 

Show Answer and Discuss

Show Answer:
The "Show Answer" button is a great way to end a question and lead into a discussion. After you have disabled submissions for students, you can show the correct answer and use the "Reports" tab to discuss the various answers that were submitted by students. 

Using the "Reports" tab, you can show the class a graph of how students responded to the question. Remember students can change their answers as long as the question is active, so we recommend disabling submissions before showing the reports. Also, if the answers are too long they will be cut off in the reports, so we recommend keeping answers short and concise. 

Reports vs Discussions:
Occasionally, professors use Word Answer questions and Reports as a way for students to submit open-ended responses to questions. We do not recommend doing this because the "Reports" tab is limited to seeing the first 30 responses. Word Answer questions should be for 1-2 word responses. Instead, try using the Discussions Module!

Should you require further assistance with Top Hat, our Support Team is here to help! You can contact us directly by way of email (, the in app support button, the red Can’t find what you are looking for? Ask Support! banner at the bottom of this page, or calling us at 1-888-663-5491.